St. George Sentinels start to roll as state tourney approaches

File photo of St. George Sentinels vs. Southern Nevada Bulls, Baseball, July 20, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The old sports adage about peaking at the right time may be just what the doctor ordered for southern Utah’s American Legion team, the St. George Sentinels. Wednesday night, the Sentinels won their fourth straight game by outlasting the Southern Nevada Bulls, 7-6.

sentinelsRyke Erickson scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth on a Bulls error with two on and nobody out.

“Well, we won,” said St. George coach Shane Johanson. “It was an odd game, but one we were glad to pull out and finish the regular season with a win.”

In fact, that’s seven wins in the last eight games for the Sentinels, who finished the American Legion Southern Utah Division 10-2 and in second place. The Sentinels are 16-11 overall, including Tuesday’s 8-1 and 13-0 sweep of Price up in Beaver. Wednesday’s win came against a tough Southern Nevada 19U team and was a good tune-up for the state tournament, which begins Monday in Layton.

Makai Maclellan (16), St. George Sentinels vs. Southern Nevada Bulls, Baseball,  July 20, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Makai Maclellan (16), St. George Sentinels vs. Southern Nevada Bulls, Baseball, July 20, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

“It was fun to get a win against a team with players of the caliber that the Southern Nevada Bulls have,” Johanson said.

Brooks Barney got the start for St. George Wednesday night, allowing just one earned run through six innings of work. But the defense behind him was shaky, allowing a couple of unearned runs that left the Sentinels behind 3-1 heading into the seventh.

That’s when things got interesting as St. George rallied for five runs to take a 6-3 lead. Erickson came through with a clutch two-out, two-RBI single to tie the game and Anthony Cornwall followed that with a tie-breaking two-run hit to make it 5-3. A Dawson Staheli walk with the bases loaded made it 6-3.

The lead lasted until the ninth, when the Bulls capitalized on some pitching wildness and walked in the tying run.

Ryke Erickson (21), St. George Sentinels vs. Southern Nevada Bulls, Baseball,  July 20, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
Ryke Erickson (21), St. George Sentinels vs. Southern Nevada Bulls, Baseball, July 20, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News

But in the bottom of the inning, St. George wasted no time in setting up the win. Erickson led off with a single and then went to second when Cornwall was hit by a pitch. Logan Campbell then laid down a bunt that Bulls pitcher Talon Lebaron scooped up. The Bulls pitcher decided to try and cut down the lead runner, Erickson, at third base. But his throw to third sailed wide and Erickson was able to saunter home with the winning run.

Cornwall got the win in relief and Lebaron took the loss.

St. George will be one of the favorites at the American Legion state tournament, which runs Monday through Saturday next week. The Sentinels have finished second and third the past two seasons. Game times have not been released yet as the Northern Division is still completing its regular season schedule.

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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